Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Speaking too soon

The last few days have been so weird. First there was dreading Katrina hitting New Orleans then relief that it sort of missed the city followed by horror and dismay as it became apparent that the end result is pretty much the same. NO is flooded and looks like a lake on satellite photos. Many, many people are missing.

Nobody knows how many dead there are but so far it's like a replay of the days falling the tsunami in December. You hear a number and then you hear another number and it's bigger and you know that the real number is still hidden underwater, lurking like some awful prehistoric monster, submerged, waiting to be revealed. I'm afraid that the actual number will be so big that we can't really understand it.

The tension is awful. The comments from people who should no better but who always revel in the blame the victim mentality are unbearable.

I'm grieving for a city I've never visited, a city I know through fiction and some research for various columns. Of all the cities in the US NO is/was vying with San Francisco for most romantic or romanticized city. It hurts our hearts to think of her and her people in such horrific circumstances.

I was watching video footage of flooding and fire and I heard the announcer say the firemen could do nothing. The hoses were flat because the water mains are broken. It made me think of the 1906 San Francisco fire and how only the one fire hydrant kept working. The damage that I imagine is similar and words fail me.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Mind Over Matter

There is a kind of common philosophical theory that the mind controls reality. If you want something enough you can get it. Everything is perception. Nothing happens unless you really want it to.

Last night I was reading about the horrible consequences of a category five hurricane hitting New Orleans square on. I was thinking about all those people who couldn't get out of the city. I was thinking how I have always wanted to go but haven't. I was thinking a lot of things and I was terribly sad and thinking at least when the tsunami struck it happened quickly and we didn't have to sit around knowing there was nothing we could do while we waited for horrors.

Cam couldn't sleep either. He kept saying there was nothing we could do and I said we would spend some time today working out what we could afford to give to disaster relief. Of course that doesn't prevent anything bad from happening so it's not terribly reassuring.

Finally I told him to go to bed and pray for Katrina to veer away from NO. And that's what he did and he fell asleep. I was praying too. Lots of people in my neighborhood were praying. Lots of people in my state were praying. Even more people in our country were praying and even more than that around the world were praying.

This morning Katrina had moved enough off course to miss the city and had been downgraded to a category four. Instead of tens of thousands of lives lost it's just going to be a ridiculous amount of money lost.

Did the power of all those minds reach out and move the hurricane just enough? Did all that praying help? I don't know but it certainly didn't seem to hurt anything.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Back from vacation

I've been on vacation for the last nine days or so. I have had the most amazing time. I drove Cullen and Cam down to NC to visit a friend. That was very nice.

Cullen and I went to see a film called Proof Friday night and that was very nice. There was a question and answer period with the director after and that was very nice. He was all things clever and interesting. We could have sat and listened to him for a week. It was absolutely lovely.

We went to the new library. The building is very nice but seems to have run out of money before they could fill it with books. Actually they had loads of paperbacks but not so many hardback. I checked out a lot of Koontz' older books that aren't so good. The blurbs are just awful. It's hard to imagine someone is getting paid to write stuff like:

He has a knife. The steel blade gleams. Whenever you close your eyes you can see it - the tip of his knife pointing at your chest.

See what I mean? Dreadful. I started back up with that wretched Left Behind series. I'm on Glorious Reappearing. Guess what is going to happen in that one! So far I am not digging it at all. I'm not sure why I am even reading it. To finish up the job I guess. Of course there is the newer Babylon Rising series and I got the second book in that. I'm curious if it will be as tedious and ridiculous as the first.

But in terms of good books I did get Cory Doctorow's short story collection. I can't think of the name of it right now.

We saw an awful lot of movies while on vacation. We saw Madagascar in the theaters. That was loads of fun after a very slow beginning.

We saw a bunch on DVD also, The Exorcist, except I kept falling asleep to wake up for the creepy bits, a film with David Spade where he played a child star trying to get a part in a Rob Reiner film, that was cute. The second two Austin Powers films which were dull and banal and only funny like once out of two films. School of Rock was very cute and charming. Jack Black is very heavyhanded but it works. Footloose, which made me realize that I have really changed my tolerance for films. When Kevin Bacon saves the crazy chick from standing in front of the train I said if he kisses her I'm turning this movie off and I won't ever finish watching it. I've been noticing lately that I think more and more that I have no idea why certain characters are attracted to each other. Who needs pure chaos in their lives? It's a mystery to me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

No, really, you'll feel so much better

I don't understand the lack of masturbation in romance novels. This is particularly true in the historical romances where the author goes on at great length about the terrible sacrifices the hero is making as he gives up all other women (even hookers!) in his pursuit of our virginal heroine. He suffers and is quite grouchy while she's rather blithe and apparently doesn't even know she has any genitalia.

There are often scenes involving cold showers or perhaps immersions in mountain rivers, lakes, lochs and streams in the middle of winter, always risking ill health in the pursuit of a member that isn't quite so hard and throbbing.

Honestly I think a little wank would make everyone feel better. He could get rid of that terrible gnawing in his vitals and relax a little and maybe it would take some of the pressure off of her. Plus, you never know, it might actually feel good. Stranger things have happened.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A matter of privacy

My phone rang this afternoon and my caller ID said that "error" was calling. I picked it up and a woman asked to speak to Georgiana. I told her this was Georgiana and she asked if this was Georgiana Lee and I said yes. She said she was calling from M and T Bank about my account I share with Tolford Lee. Right there I stopped her.

I don't know a Tolford Lee. I don't have an account at M and T Bank. I didn't know if it was some weird phishing scheme or if she was about to tell me something about someone's account when she absolutely shouldn't, but whatever it was I didn't want to be involved.

She said she had gotten my telephone number from information and she seemed quite doubtful that I don't share an account with Tolford (who may spell his or her name completely differently).

It seems to me that when you are in the business of finance you should be pretty careful about who you call and what you tell them. I mean what if I had told her to close the account or something?

It kind of reminds me of when I used to get all these calls for Gladys someone who was supposed to come in for her pacemaker checks. For a year I got these calls and every single time I told them to ask her for the correct number when she came in but they never did. It's kind of important that your cardiologist be able to get ahold of you and again, they used to leave very personal medical information on my voice mail.

The same sort of thing happens to me at work. Several times a month someone makes an error and emails me sensitive financial information.

It's a disturbing trend and I wish people would be more careful about other people's data.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Profanity and good works.

I went to see the Aristocrats last night. It's extremely funny, so funny the guy sitting next to me laughed himself right into my lap. He spent about a quarter of the film sitting in my lap.

It's not just hilarious, it's all about how and why humor works. It's also really nice to see some older comedians talking about the history of comedy in the US. How old is Phyllis Diller anyway? I remember listening to people complain about her when I was a kid, how she wasn't ladylike and how she was too loud. Those are both traits I am proud to say I have acquired for myself.

I cam up with my own version of the joke and planned exactly how I would film it to the enter the contest to be in the DVD but my dreams have been shattered once again because the rules say if you are a member of SAG or AFTRA you can't enter. Why? Am I less funny just because I am a professional? Penn Jillette, I am talking to YOU!

I wrote about the auctions to raise money for the First Amendment Project in my column this week. I wrote a long blog entry about them Friday night but my computer crashed and I am too lazy/disheartened/annoyed to retype it. Go and read my column. I also review (as much as I review anything) three books by Dean Koontz.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Reasons I shouldn't have to finish my really hard novel

  1. First novels are always bad.
  2. Songwriting looks a lot easier.
  3. First novels don't usually sell very well.
  4. Non fiction pays better than fiction and I already have two non fiction gigs, not that I have gotten paid for either of them but it's the principle of the thing.
  5. First novels are famous for being bad.
  6. Scripts go faster.
  7. Okay, so I suppose Bluer Than the Night Sky was technically my first novel and I have written three feature scripts and I've been writing for a really long time but it's the first novel I ever started so it must be terrible.
  8. All right I really started my first novel when I was seven or so. This thing has already won a small writing contest.
  9. I guess I will have to finish it.
  10. Sigh. Why can't I write it in my sleep? Who do I have to bribe around here to get that done?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

What were you thinking? I asked you first!

Cullen saw an article the other day at called What Were They Thinking. The only part he read was how the author was complaining about Moxie CrimeFighter's Jillette's name and casting aspersions on the naming capabilities of Mr. and Mrs. Jillette. Moxie CrimeFighter is the best name ever! Believe me, I know from unusual names and I would love to have a name that cool.

My initial reaction whenever I see something that starts out "what were they thinking" is "what are you thinking asking that question? Leave them alone!" so it is with a great deal of surprise that I announce the creation of Fred and Georgiana's very own "What were you thinking?" site,, where we will explore the mysteries of what possesses people to try and sell their seven hundredth "haunted doll" and other enigmas other people are too scared, or sensible to examine. I'll be posting a link to it from this blog very soon and I hope everyone enjoys it.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Comment spam on other people's sites

I was the first one to notice a new piece of comment spam in one of Teresa's posts at Making Light a few minutes ago. It was a distinctly odd moment for me. My ingrained reaction after five years of taking care of the Vine was to try and run my program that removes the ad. But of course that isn't going to work so I could only point it out and feel curiously proud of doing my bit to keep the site pristine.

Cullen had a complaint about Making Light because he was trying to do some research into the properties of light and Teresa's site is number two, after a commercial site. It's interesting to see the results. Industrial Light and Magic is number nine.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Speaking of fun

The one movie I want to see the most is Corpse Bride, Tim Burton's new film. I saw a trailer the first time when we went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and it made me jump up and down and clap my hands. Every time I think about it I smile. I just can't wait. September is going to be the best month ever.

Today was a really great day with lots of laughs. I read The Hedonism Handbook which was quite good and entertaining. John M. Ford said something at Making Light that made me laugh until the neighbors banged on the walls. My friend A. called me and made me laugh until I thought I'd never stop.

In the Handbook it says that laughter stimulates both sides of the brain and it is good for memory among other things. I noticed some months ago that if I am having a particularly rough morning with lots of vomiting and headache pain if I talk to one of my friends and they make me laugh I always feel better. I can't stress enough how much better. It's like getting a shot of morphine or something. Good stuff.

My brother Fred and I are in the planning stages of a new website. This thing should make lots of other people laugh, which is always a Good Thing.

I bought a bunch of books and am quite excited about them. The hardcover 1602, the Mirrormask script book which is shockingly beautiful, V is for Vendetta, Sin City book one, a book of So Doko for Cullen and I preordered Chef on DVD with Lenny Henry for Cul's birthday and the MP3 CD of Lenny Henry reading Anansi Boys. So many treasures I feel faint with excitement.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Affectionately known as the toilet

I'm working on my column and finding these really amazing things. Look at this ride. They called the Storm, but I know a toilet bowl when I see one.

Enter a cage of tigers or ride Der Stuka? I'll take my chances with the tigers, thanks.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I would NEVER watch cartoons!

Last week someone called me on the phone to ask if I had any old clothes to give to charity. It's funny because when I read a book set hundreds of years ago I don't think of people begging for discarded clothes in our time but clearly it's not just still profitable, it's easier than ever. No more need to go door to door asking.

I said yes I had some clothes and they said they would be by tomorrow, calling tonight to remind me.

This morning I got a call from a fellow who was reminding me. I could hear music in the background that I mentally classified as "whacky". I asked him if he was watching cartoons and he got really offended. He said no, he would never watch cartoons, he was watching the Three Stooges. He was really huffy about it and didn't seem to agree with me that the Three Stooges are cartoons, just not animated.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Yum, and by that I mean yuck

So I had this really disgusting thing happen to me today. Cammie made me some toast, using this really yummy multi grain sourdough bread we get over to the Trader Joes and there was a fingernail in it! And it got caught between my teeth so I couldn't just spit it out right away. Ewwwwww. I suppose in this day and age I should be glad it wasn't a finger as they seem to be very popular in the foodstuffs this year.